The 15 New York Shows You Need to See This October

Artsy Editorial
Sep 28, 2017 10:34PM

Here, we spotlight 15 of the exhibitions that we’re most excited to see this month, from the first museum solo show of Toyin Ojih Odutola to the New Museum’s intergenerational exploration of gender, to a mad retrospective from a former New Yorker now based in Bali.

“Fictions” at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Sep. 14–Jan. 7 • 144 West 125th Street

Installation shot of Genevieve Gaignard's work in "Fictions" at the Studio Museum. Courtesy of the Studio Museum.

“Fictions” is the fifth iteration of the “F” series, initiated by the Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden in 2001 as a way of demonstrating the museum’s commitment to showing and supporting the careers of artists of African descent working in the United States. This year’s edition highlights 19 emerging artists of color, including Genevieve Gaignard, Allison Janae Hamilton, and Paul Stephen Benjamin, who present powerful, poetic narratives in media ranging from video installations to paintings. —Casey Lesser

Toyin Ojih Odutola at the Whitney

Oct. 20 • 99 Gansevoort Street

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Representatives of State, 2016-17. ©Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Wall of Ambassadors, 2017. ©Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.


In her first solo museum show, “To Wander Determined,” Ojih Odutola presents recent work that traces a fictional narrative surrounding two aristocratic Nigerian families. The Nigerian-born, New York-based artist is known for her distinctive figurative works—from paintings to charcoal and ink drawings—that deftly depict the complexities of skin color. —CL

Ashley Bickerton at FLAG Art Foundation

Sep. 23–Dec. 16 • 545 West 25th Street, 9th Floor

Installation image of Ashley Bickerton, The FLAG Art Foundation, 2017. Photography courtesy Steven Probert. 

In Bickerton’s 1998 painting The Vlaminkos, we’re introduced to three characters. Laxmi is chain smoking, listening to a Walkman, and playing a Game Boy. Sally is blissful, posing in a half lotus position, entirely nude. Meanwhile, Roger is bound and trussed, wearing a Nazi armband and a Donald Duck mask. It’s one of the more incendiary moments in the bold career surveyed here, a lurid brain-purge from an artist who, once a New York star, now indulges his wildest fantasies in Bali. —Scott Indrisek

Nicolas Party at Karma and Gallery Met

Karma: Sep. 24–Nov. 5 • 188 East 2nd Street

Gallery Met: Sep. 26–Dec. 2 • Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center

Nicolas Party, Portrait, 2017. Photo by Thomas Müller. Courtesy of the artist and Karma, New York.

Nicolas Party, Sunset, 2017. Photo by Thomas Müller. Courtesy of the artist and Karma, New York.

The Swiss artist’s pastel murals and paintings, done in a graphic style with crisp edges and soft textures, are often inspired by art historical greats. Party is currently featured in two New York venues: At Karma, he presents signature works, like portraits of stoic human figures, magical landscapes, or still lifes of ripe fruit, while at Gallery Met, he presents an encompassing installation, titled “Dinner for 24 Sheep,” which is inspired by the opera now premiering, Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel (which includes live sheep on stage). —CL

Yayoi Kusama at the Judd Foundation

Sep. 23–Dec. 9 • 101 Spring Street

Yayoi Kusama, INFINITY-NETS [AAKN], 2016. © Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; YAYOI KUSAMA Inc.

It might come as news that the Japanese artist and the American Minimalist were close friends in New York, approving of each other’s respective work, writing letters, and trading art. As we recently reported, Judd and Kusama even collaborated together, in a sense, on the latter’s surreal furniture piece, Accumulation No. 1 (1962). The idea behind this new installation of Kusama’s “Infinity Net” paintings at Judd’s former home and studio had been discussed before his death in 1994; over two decades later, it’s a reality. —SI

Judith Bernstein at The Drawing Center

Oct. 13–Feb. 4 • 35 Wooster Street

Judith Bernstein, Cabinet of Horrors, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Judith Bernstein, Trump Genie, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

For five decades, Bernstein has dauntlessly tackled sexism and war through paintings and drawings, often depicting giant penises and personifications of male genitals. In “Cabinet of Horrors,” the artist presents a new, commissioned body of work—including drawings, large-scale murals, and vintage piggy banks—that she began after the election of President Donald Trump last November. The Drawing Center will also be handing out free political buttons designed by the artist. —CL

Katie Stout at R & Company

Sep. 26–Oct. 26 • 82 Franklin Street

Installation view of Katie Stout at R & Company. Courtesy of Joe Kramm/R & Company.

In “Side Dish,” the young Brooklyn-based designer presents a smattering of her playful ceramic lamps—sculptural forms of buoyant female nudes in fiery colors, with gilded lips and nipples. Notable, too, are Stout’s enormous new marble tables, and the custom wallpaper that lines the space, also featuring frolicsome naked ladies in rainbow colors. —CL

William Wegman at Sperone Westwater

Sep. 5–Oct. 28 • 257 Bowery

William Wegman, Twisted Hope, 2001. Courtesy the Artist and Sperone Westwater, New York.

William Wegman, Parcheesi, 1998. Courtesy the Artist and Sperone Westwater, New York.

While his reputation is forever linked to touching, comedic portraits that humanize Weimaraners, Wegman’s career actually contains multitudes: video and conceptual experiments, drawings, and paintings that incorporate collaged postcards. While a handful of recent shows in New York have explored those lesser-known facets, this time it’s all about the dogs, with around three decades of never-before-exhibited 20x24 Polaroids of the artist’s famous canines. —SI

Heidi Hahn at Jack Hanley

Oct. 12–Nov. 12 • 327 Broome Street

Heidi Hahn, The Future is Elsewhere If it Breaks Your Heart) #1, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Hanley Gallery.

Hahn’s figurative paintings of women typically depict them in soft, wispy brushstrokes, lounging beneath trees, curled up in bed, or reading books. “These paintings are about women and their interior lives,” she says of this show of new work. “These women are almost without history but entirely aware of the part they have had to play in it through art history and through the male gaze.” Hahn conveys the psychological burdens of her subjects, deploying emotional scenes through thoughtful use of color and the physicality of paint. —CL

Claes Oldenburg at Pace

Oct. 13–Nov. 11 • 537 West 24th Street

Claes Oldenburg, Shelf Life Number 8, 2016-17. © 2017 Claes Oldenburg. Photo by Kerry  Ryan McFate. Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

It’s a big deal when a giant like Oldenburg showcases fresh sculpture after a pause of over a decade. But in some ways, it’s not big at all—in terms of scale, that is. While he’s entered the popular imagination (along with Coosje van Bruggen) for public renderings of massively oversized shuttlecocks and clothespins, “Shelf Life” is intimate, with 15 diorama-style installations of handmade objects. (Also promised: a series of “mouse shopping bags.”) “This new body of work,” notes Pace’s Arne Glimcher in a statement, “with its nostalgia for the past and its optimism for the future, marks the beginning of a new period” for Oldenburg, now 88. —SI

“Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” at the New Museum

Sep. 27–Jan. 21 • 235 Bowery

Diamond Stingily, Kaa, 2016 (detail). Courtesy the artist and Queer Thoughts, New York.

Justin Vivian Bond, My Barbie Coloring Book, 2014. Courtesy the artist.

As contentions around social, political, and sexual identity abound, this timely exhibition engages artists who are fostering a more expansive and inclusive understanding of gender in contemporary art and culture at large. Gathering together over 40 artists from various generations—from emerging talent like Diamond Stingily and Sable Elyse Smith to established names like Mickalene Thomas and Simone Leigh—the show rejects a binary understanding of gender, and also considers the critical roles of race, class, sexuality, and disability. —CL

Gilbert & George at Lehmann Maupin

Oct. 12–Dec. 22 • 536 West 22nd Street and 201 Chrystie Street

GILBERT & GEORGE BEARDOVER, 2016. © Gilbert & George. Courtesy the artists and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

When is a beard more than just a beard? For the famed, inseparable British performance duo, facial hair gets conceptual in a series of large-scale works. Apparently, their interest was piqued by the hirsute young hipsters in their own London neighborhood. Here, Gilbert & George—clean-shaven in real life—reimagine themselves with psychedelic whiskers that turn into fences, monsters, and fall foliage. —SI

Rachel Rossin at Signal

Sep. 29–Oct. 22 • 260 Johnson Avenue, Brooklyn

Courtesy of Rachel Rossin.

Courtesy of Rachel Rossin.

This young New York artist’s forays into virtual reality are stunning and strange (and refreshing, given what can seem like a very male-heavy genre). Here in Bushwick she’ll present new VR work, as well as Plexiglas sculptures (that find her melting and contorting the transparent material), and a series of what Rossin is terming “aquarium computers.” “They’re sealed glass tanks filled with mineral oil, in which active, single-board computer hardware is floating, along with fans, LEDs, and monitors,” explains gallerist Alexander Johns. “Rachel has a voracious curiosity for how things work that extends into the art she makes. It’s exciting to see her apply new technologies to an ongoing process of self-discovery and understanding.” —SI

Graham Collins at The Journal Gallery

Sep. 23–Nov. 4 • 106 North 1st Street, Brooklyn

Installation of Graham Collins at The Journal Gallery. Courtesy of The Journal Gallery.

Collins is a slippery artist. He’s made wood-and-glass assemblages that promote a kind of elegant, battered, monochromatic Minimalism—but when he showed at this Brooklyn gallery two years ago, he presented enormous sculptures made from above-ground swimming pools. This time, we get something completely different: Collins’s latest body of work includes wild, collage-style paintings (pieced together from snippets of other people’s found canvases), and a range of spindly bronze sculptures.  —SI

Carolee Schneemann at MoMA PS1

Oct. 22–Mar. 11 • 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City

Carolee Schneemann, Meat Joy, 1964. Courtesy of MoMA PS1.

Carolee Schneemann, Nude on Tracks, 1962-77. Courtesy of MoMA PS1.

The beloved feminist pioneer will enjoy her first retrospective this October, looking back on a prolific and diverse six-decade career. Schneemann is often popularly associated with her 1975 performance work Interior Scroll—during which she removed a long strip of paper from her vagina while standing naked on a table—but this show will serve to represent the breadth of the artist’s wide-ranging career. Beginning with paintings from the 1950s and assemblages from the ’60s, it highlights innovative video, performance, and installation works through which she dealt with the sexism of art history and taboos around the female body. —CL

—Scott Indrisek and Casey Lesser

Artsy Editorial